August 13, 2016 / 8:05 AM / 3 years ago

Ohio fugitives arrested after killing of New Mexico officer

(Reuters) - Two men accused of aggravated murder in Ohio have been arrested in southern New Mexico, and one has been charged with shooting and killing a local police officer during a traffic stop, officials said on Saturday.

Jesse Hanes, 38, faces one count of willful and deliberate first-degree murder for allegedly shooting a police officer on Friday during a traffic stop near a convenience store in the village of Hatch, New Mexico, said Kelly Jameson, a spokeswoman for the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department.

Hanes was traveling with James Nelson, 36, who is being held in Doña Ana County on a fugitive from justice charge in connection with the same murder in Ohio, Jameson said. Nelson did not face any other charges as of Saturday afternoon.

The fugitives were traveling with another man who told officers he had been hitchhiking. The third man is not believed to be involved in the Ohio murder or the shooting of the police officer in New Mexico, Jameson said.

Jose Chavez, a 33-year-old officer with Hatch’s police department, died Friday evening after undergoing surgery in a hospital about 80 miles away in El Paso, Texas, Hatch Mayor Andrew Nunez and local authorities said.

Chavez had been with the department for two years. He had a wife and two children.

After the shooting, Hanes fled the scene in a Lexus that was seen racing on the highway at speeds above 100 miles per hour, the sheriff’s department said.

After evading police, Hanes is thought to have shot another motorist at a rest stop and stolen his Chevrolet Cruze, authorities said. The 36-year-old motorist was in stable condition and could be released soon, Jameson said.

Authorities surrounded the stolen Cruze after it crashed into a pile of firewood at a residence. Hanes had a gunshot wound to the leg and was taken to a local hospital, Jameson said. The wound appeared to have been self-inflicted, she said.

Nelson and the hitchhiker were picked up by authorities near the rest stop. It was unclear if Nelson was involved in the carjacking, Jameson said.

Hanes and Nelson are wanted by authorities in Ohio in connection with the fatal shooting of a 62-year-old man on July 25, Ohio’s Chillicothe Gazette reported.

The investigation into Friday’s incident is ongoing, authorities said.

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Chris Prentice in New York; Editing by Alexander Smith and Paul Simao

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